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A strange condition of things: alterity and knowingness in Dickens' 'David Copperfield'

Smith, R.D.

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Abstract

It is sometimes said that we are strangers to ourselves, bearers of internal alterity, as well as to each other. The profounder this strangeness then the greater the difficulty of giving any systematic account of it without paradox: of supposing that our obscurity to ourselves can readily be illuminated. To attempt such an account, in defiance of the paradox, is to risk knowingness: a condition which, appearing to challenge our alterity but in fact often confirming it, holds an ambiguous place in the ‘ethics of belief’ and has largely escaped philosophical attention. Like alterity, knowingness can only be approached indirectly. Charles Dickens, in David Copperfield, is exemplary in the way he handles these themes.

Citation

Smith, R. (2013). A strange condition of things: alterity and knowingness in Dickens' 'David Copperfield'. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(4), 371-382. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2012.718144

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 25, 2013
Publicly Available Date Apr 7, 2015
Journal Educational Philosophy and Theory
Print ISSN 0013-1857
Electronic ISSN 1469-5812
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 4
Pages 371-382
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2012.718144
Keywords Alterity, Knowingness, Psychoanalysis, The unconscious, Freud, Charles Dickens.

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